AAPIHM: Collection Highlights from the Northside Neighborhood History Collection

Chicago Public Library has been strategically focusing its collection development—including in the Archives and Special Collections Division—to be more inclusive in its collection of and access to historically excluded stories, and in line with its stated equity values and strategic plan. In celebration of Asian American Pacific Islander Month, here are highlights from three collections in the Northside Neighborhood History Collection (NNHC) that illustrate this effort.

Korean American Archives Project

CPL's Korean American Archives project is a collaboration between community organizations in Chicago’s Korean American neighborhoods, CPL’s Archives and Special Collections Division and Young Park, a member of Chicago’s Korean American community and manager of CPL's Popular Library.

The next phase of the project is scheduled to take place in Summer 2023. A member of the Korean American Advisory Committee will look through the collection to answer questions posed by NNHC staff about the materials and create English translations of these items. In addition, the advisor will offer cultural and historical insights to aid in the creation of descriptive metadata that NNHC staff will incorporate into the finding guides.

After the collection is processed, items will be selected for digitization and access on CPL’s digital collections. Materials that are not digitized will be available for in-person viewing by appointment. For more information, email northsidehistory@chipublib.org or call 312-742-4455.

Japanese American Directories

Recent acquisitions to the NNHC include two Japanese American directories published by the Nichi Bei Times from 1958 and 1961. The directories list businesses and residents in Chicago and other US cities and provide insight into the Japanese community in Chicago and the US. The directories are available by appointment.

Forced Migration Photovoice Project

After being on hiatus due to COVID-19, the Forced Migration Photovoice Project is scheduled to start up again this summer. The project, which began in 2013, uses a photography and storytelling methodology called photovoice to document stories from people who have been affected by forced migration and now call Chicago home. In the Picturing a New Life in Chicago online exhibit, you can read about Roya and Habib's first impressions of Chicago as they adjusted to life here from Afghanistan.